David Cauldwell

Proof that yetis exist! Kinda...

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Don’t lose your head. Image: David Cauldwell

Don’t lose your head. Image: David Cauldwell

The monastery is awash with colour, in stark contrast to a cantankerous monk who stands by a locked cabinet. He jangles a set of keys. Gestures for me to make a donation. The monk then unlocks the cabinet to reveal an ornamental box with a scarf draped over it. Inside is something that looks like a genetically modified coconut sliced in half. The monk tells me it’s a yeti scalp. Is this concrete evidence at last? Well yes, if yeti scalps are made from the 200-year-old skin of a serow, a rare goat-antelope. Whoever made this scalp stretched the serow skin over a purpose-built mould, and then stitched henna-dyed hair (presumably yak’s) into it. It’s unclear if locals actually believe it’s real, or whether it’s simply a gimmick to lure tourists into handing over their rupees.